Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Where were you on 9/11?"

I was at home eating oatmeal.

There was a Regional Managers meeting for the Property Management company I worked for that day, and as I was presenting the Marketing Strategy, Findings and Forecast Report, the meeting was being held at my Property. This meant I got to have a lay in and relaxed morning watching the news while having my oatmeal and coffee.

I was a spectacular morning. Perfect Autumn day, and the sky was so blue!

I sat enjoying the news and my breakfast, a rare treat, as I was usually at the Office already by this time. The morning News Anchors interrupted their Report abruptly to announce that there had been an explosion in Downtown Manhattan; minutes later they report that it’s been a gas explosion in one of The Towers. Now, the news starts moving at record pace, as reports come in that “something” may have hit one of The Towers. By now my heart is racing. They have gone live and all you can see is one of The Towers FLAMING!!

I am still holding the bowl of oatmeal in my hand, as if I’m frozen in suspension. Amid the confusion, all the reports, all the while showing the live footage, out of the right corner of the screen [like a nightmare or train wreck in slow motion] you can see something small, a plane and it is headed straight for The Towers……

It slams in, the explosion is monumental! I start to shake and cry!

I jump up from the couch, put down the oatmeal and run into the kitchen to ring my Mom. “Mommy, we’re under attack!” I scream through the phone, no hello or anything. I’m talking a mile a minute trying to warn my Mother.

Everything gets very blurry. It’s like walking with a blindfold on; I course on trying to shower, dress, and all through streams of tears and with one eye on the TV trying get as much information as possible. It’s out the door and up to the Office.

Five minutes later I arrive, the TV is already on and the Office is full with Staff. The Regional Managers Meeting has been pushed back to allow people time to get to the Office. There is already chaos on the roads. Some make it up and some don’t. Some have come from the Home Office in Philadelphia and we must make arrangements for their overnight accommodation as Philadelphia is put on Lock-down, they can not return home that evening.

We watch the TV. We wait. There is one image that has been indelibly etched into my mind. Not long after the attacks, after all emergency services had been activated news crews arrived at all the NYC hospitals. They showed Doctors, Nurses, EMT’s going into Crisis mode. I don’t know, maybe it’s because my Father was a Doctor and he was part of the Emergency Team of Doctors, Nurses and Medical Personnel that was on call throughout the Agnes Flood of ’72, that made the site of Medical Professional ready at a moments notice to help repair injured bodies that got to me. But, that image turned disturbing as minute after minute and hour after hour passed news crews continue to report from empty Emergency Rooms! At first there were lines of Doctors and Nurses with gurneys assembled in neat lines outside of hospital E.R. Doors. They waited and waited and we watched them wait. They waited and we watched.

No bodies came.

As the hours passed you could see the horror setting in on their faces as there was nothing they could do to help. No one was bringing bodies to repair, because they weren’t any. The injured were easy absorbed into a few hospitals closest to The Towers. Late in the day, one Doctor who sat with his head down and coffee in one hand, was interviewed. It was clear he had been crying. As he shook his head all he could say to the Reporter was, “There’s no bodies. There’s no bodies.”

It’s in the hours and days that follow that the horror begins to sink in, amidst the sheer panic of trying to locate the many family and friends living and working in N.Y.C. and Washington D.C. I come from a very close-knit community and as “the network” spreads and shares news the shocking reality and relief that awful mix, as names are called. This person has been contacted, this person is safe, this person was in the Pentagon and we have not heard from them, this person was in The Towers and we can not find them.
The Community is both relieved and torn to bits as prayers continue to flow. Prayers of thanks for the safety of those found and prayers and pleas of hope for those who are not fill the Wilkes-Barre air.

That day I lost a friend:

Lenny Snyder:
I had gone to Bishop Hoban High School with Lenny, and his siblings, his brother Chris was in my class. I had gone to King’s College with Lenny and his widow Janine. When I think of Lenny, I immediately think of his smile. Lenny had the biggest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen in my life. His smile entered the room before he did. He was a great laugh, full of life; kind, generous and he played a mean Sax! And the parties at King’s were legend! Janine was great and she and Lenny were one of those perfect couples you just knew were always going to be together. In class, Janine had a great eye and instinct for Design, P.R. and Advertising. My Uncle, the late Fr. Tim Delaney, was very close to the entire Snyder Family. He thought so highly of the entire family, and loved Lenny and his incredibly positive thirst for life. It is not an exaggeration to say that it was a loss to the world that day when Lenny was taken. He sheer output of positive energy into the Universe was a source of good for the world!

“Some weekends are just harder than others”

“Some weekends are just harder than others”

Please send your thoughts, prayers and good wishes to the People of Northeastern Pennsylvania, who are suffering through a traumatic weekend!!! They are currently dealing with Disastrous Flooding, nearly 40 years after one of the U.S.'s worst natural disasters, The Agnes Flood of '72. This was always going to be a difficult weekend anyway because of the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks.

Because of the proximately to N.Y.C., the people of NEPA were terribly and deeply affected by 9/11. People lost family and friends when the Towers collapsed. Family and Friends who were lucky enough to survive, now live with the scars of the days, weeks and months that followed. Most people were directly affected themselves or family or friends directly involved. If you were one of the lucky not to be, it was the knowledge of the City that got you.

It's a quick 2-1/2 hour drive from my hometown of Wilkes-Barre, PA to N.Y.C. So, it's all those years of Class trips to the Museums, Statue of Liberty, etc. The family trips and day trips to see family, friends or just hang out, take in a Broadway show, hang out in The Village, head Uptown for some great food and clubs. Whatever your fancy, from a young age there was a constant and strong connection that was built over years.

For Northeastern Pennsylvanians, this weekend is trying at best and we won't even go into the "at worst". Dealing with the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks as well as Disastrous Flooding and the very raw memories for those who lived through The Agnes Flood of '72 have all been brought back. I'm not sure if I can adequately explain how this level of trauma feels to people and exactly how difficult this weekend is turning out to be for most. I do hope I'm at least scratching the surface.

Additionally, over the past tens years NEPA has seen an influx of two new groups of people, for which this will be equally difficult. 1st - the many New Yorkers who moved out of The City to the Pennsylvania Burbs after 9/11 and those who were Relocated to NEPA following Hurricane Katrina. They will find though, that they are now living in amongst strong people in a strong community that TRULY take care of each other in a way in which I have NEVER seen in all my travels, in all my life!!!

My wish is that anyone who reads my story will attempt to understand the trauma of this weekend, and will PLEASE send thought, prayers, vibes, whatever and however you think or pray please make a Positive Effort for Northeastern Pennsylvanians this weekend. THANK YOU!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Link

Every experience throughout our entire lives shapes, molds, and transforms us as people and that which we do, we create and we contribute back to our communities. Storytelling and Photography serve so many purposes both practical and artistic. Today, as I looked through old photographs of my Papa on this his 35th Anniversary, I could not help but notice how every photograph of him instantly produced a story inside my head. A story of a memory, happy or sad, a lesson learned or interestingly, a story told to me about him by someone else. It felt to me this was yet another curve in the constantly intertwining paths of Photography and Storytelling.

by Daria Marie Walsh (C) 04/02/2011

Lessons from my Papa

Some of the greatest lessons I learned from my Father were lessons of personal responsibility, both to myself and my society. Lessons such as never-ever giving up, how to treat others with dignity and respect, matters of Social Responsibility and Social Justice and a big one with him-the importance of a good education and hard work.

Although I was only less than two months away from my 8th Birthday I absorbed lessons from my Papa with a sponge-like capacity. I was the oldest, I was the Redhead and I was blessed to have a Father who adored me and always had time for me. He brought me along for everything from walks to the Park to Fishing to his Doctor’s Office and Rounds at the Hospital. And everywhere there were lessons. I took everything in; I thought he was just the greatest. As it turns out, my little Daddy’s Girl view of him turned out to be true. His big personality and immense capacity for kindness, generosity, empathy and fairness left its positive mark on so many people’s lives and shaped my life and the way I think and act today, my values, ethics and morals.

He died much too young. My young Mother, who found herself a widow at only 33 with three young girls under the age of 8 to raise, was left to carry on the vision they had started together. And she did so, to heroic proportions. My Uncle Eddie, my Father’s brother, took great care, attention and involvement in our lives, despite living clear across the country. He was my link to my Father. Always staying in touch, always sharing the many stories about the ‘Jimmy’ I didn’t know. Papa, to him was Jimmy, and through him I learned all about the childhood that shaped the man.

I am blessed with poignant memories of my Papa. One such memory is a beautifully warm Summers Day in which I accompanied my Papa to a Blueberry Farm. It was a great place, full of adventure and one I had been to before and was very happy to revisit. The Farmer was a friendly guy. We made our way up the dusty dirt road to his house in our old car. My Papa did not believe in the vulgarities of flashy automobiles. As always, I stayed close by my Papa’s side. I remember the feeling of the hot sun on my freckled face. My Papa asked if I wanted to pick some blueberries while he talked with the Farmer. Of course, I said “yes”. I knew the rules, not to go away from the rows of blueberry bushes. The Farmer gave me a big bucket and I was off to have my adventure. To me this bucket seemed enormous, I have a feeling if I were to view it today it probably would not actually be all that large…but in a child’s mind.

I picked and ate and picked and ate and sat down in the sun between the rows of blueberry bushes. I chatted away to myself; I must have been good company, because by all accounts this was a fairly regular occurrence. This particular day I discovered an extra treat; a frog. I don’t know where he came from, but this little Froggy was just hopping along beside the blueberries. I very carefully crept up and caught him. I was delighted with myself. I took my very full bucket of blueberries and my new pet frog and made my way back up towards the house. My Papa was also making his way towards me. I proudly displayed my catch to him. He was dually impressed. I asked if he thought the Farmer might let me take him home, and if he said yes, then could I. My Papa said we would have to ask the Farmer. Which he did and it was agreed that Froggy would become my new pet.

I noticed that we did not pay for the blueberries, so I asked my Papa about this in the car on the way home. He explained to me we did pay in a way, that the Blueberries were a kind of exchange. He called it Bartering and explained all that to me. I never once remember him talking down to me or not answering my questions. Good questions were always rewarded. He told me that the Farmer did not have a lot of money, but that he was not feeling well. My Papa said that he did not believe that any one should ever be denied medical treatment just because they did not have money to pay. People always have a way to pay and if people could be allowed to make exchanges for what they needed based on the different talents that everyone could bring to the table then everyone would always have enough and be taken care of. It made sense to me. It still does.

As it turned out there were many instances of these “exchanges” for medical services during his years of practice. My Papa did not become a Doctor to “make lots of money”. He became a Doctor to help people. And because he himself grew up so poor, he could not bear to turn away anyone in need simply because they did not have the cash. Likewise, he would not insult someone either with a mere hand-out, he knew the indignities that could come from having to take charity. But in allowing his Patients to “Barter” when the money was tight he ensured the good health and peace of mind of countless numbers of people. He also taught me a valuable lesson. We as a family also benefited with the joys of the exchange, things like blueberries, frogs, and delicious homemade Italian dinners just to name a few.

That is just one of many examples I learned from hanging around with my Papa. Always treat everyone fairly and with dignity, and by all means don’t be greedy. It’s not nice and not necessary; there is plenty to go around.

Daria Marie Walsh, © 04/02/2011

To Papa

4th February, 1976. 35 Years ago I lost the man who’s blood races through my body. My Father, Dr. James P. Walsh, died age 42. He left behind a Wife, 33; three young daughters aged 7, 4 and 2, brothers, a sister and many nieces and nephews, not to mention the countless lives he touched with his incredible kindness and generosity. The lessons he taught stay with me today. I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU PAPA

"7 Years" ~ Crossing Brighid's Girdle

"7 Years"

"7 Years"

So, we've just celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary...
So, we've managed to not get hurled off the Roller Coaster...
Oh sure, there's been some puking and cries to "stop this bloody feckin' thing"...
But, so far we've managed to stay in our seats, ups, downs, upside down and sideways, we've held on tight...

And in the end, doesn't it always come down to the numbers???

7 Years
3 Angel Babies: Brighid Katherine, Séamus Pádraig, and Saoirse Aurora
2 Published Books
1 Kindle E-Book
4 Photographic Exhibitions
1 Photographic Collection in Permanant Gallery Collection
7 Childrens Books Festivals
3 Counties [lived in]: Cork, Kildare, and Dublin
13 Festivals
~Countless Comedy Gigs, Poetry Readings, Storytelling Sessions and Arts Events
~Countless Tears
~Countless Giggles
~Dizzing Highs, Disturbing Lows and quiet calm peaceful days of Contented Quietness...

It can all be counted in numbers...

All of these, but so much more, make up the equation of our lives so far...

(above) = Daria + Paul = 1

[by Daria Marie Walsh, 01/02/11 (C) for my beloved Paul on our Anniversary]

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Agnes Flood Anniversary Project

The 40th Anniversary of The Agnes Flood is approaching. I am supporting The Agnes Flood Anniversary Project. They have a FaceBook Page. I think it is a worthy and very important project. It carves a very distinct link between Photography and Storytelling, and not just in the obvious Journalistic sense.

Please check out the page on FaceBook at:!/agnes72

The Agnes Flood of 1972 remains one of the worst Natural Disasters to have ever struck the United States, and was described in 1972 was THE WORST NATURAL DISASTER to have ever struck the U.S. Wilkes-Barre, PA is my Hometown and Kingston [just across the Susquehanna River] is where I was living at the time. Kingston was my Father's hometown. Kingston and Wilkes-Barre bore the brunt of this tragedy. But the outstanding Community Spirit and the way in which the people of The Wyoming Valley handled this devastation is what earned them it's name of "The Valley with a Heart".

My Arts Page

I have set up a special 'Arts Page' on FaceBook. I'm not a techie, but I am trying...LOL!
Here is the link:!/pages/Daria-Marie-Walsh-Narrative-and-Visual-Art/123120704392231

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Newspaper Article

December 1, 2010

Storytellers are real-life helpers of community
Service organizations benefit from two people who can spin a good tale.

A Wilkes-Barre native and her English-born husband are using words, as well as their Thanksgiving holiday, to lift the spirits of local people.

click image to enlargeStoryteller Daria Walsh and writer Paul Tubb are doing more than entertaining. They are also doing good for the community.


Select images available for purchase in the
Times Leader Photo StoreDaria M. Walsh and Paul H. Tubb are in the area visiting relatives, on vacation from their home in Ireland. The couple, deeply involved in the arts, are using their time to bring their creativity to some local organizations and help raise money and awareness.

Walsh, 42 and a photographer, has delved into the art of traditional Irish storytelling this past year. She performs with an Irish group called Milk and Cookies Stories.

On Sunday, Walsh used her storytelling talents to raise money for the St. Vincent DePaul Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre. She based her show on the concept “A Story for my Supper,” which draws inspiration from the Irish poets, bards and storytellers who often bartered with locals for supper and shelter in exchange for a storytelling session.

Later this week, Walsh will tell stories to women at Ruth’s Place, in Wilkes-Barre, as well as speak to a group of artists with Down syndrome, Verve Vertu, at Arts YOUniverse.

Walsh enjoys the conversational style of Irish storytelling, as well as the tradition and creativity that come along with it.

“I incorporate a lot of the mythology and folklore into my stories,” she said, “but what I’m working with right now are all originals of mine.”

Tubb, 37, also has a way with words, but his are of the written variety. An IT contractor, he began writing silly children’s poems and limericks in 2004, shortly after Walsh suffered a miscarriage.

“I think it was a therapeutic thing for me to do in such a rough time,” he said.

Tubb’s therapy has sprung into a children’s book full of nonsense poems and limericks. The subjects range from soccer (or football, as it’s called in England) to a library plagued by rain and a Scottish man with English teeth.

Tubb will perform poems from the book, titled “Please Do Not Encourage This Nonsense By Purchasing This Book,” at the Barnes & Noble in the Arena Hub Plaza tonight and Saturday. The book is not only written by Tubb, but also self-published and self-illustrated.

Tubb has always loved rhymes and feels he was most inspired by humorous literature throughout his life.

“I’ve always loved making people laugh,” he said, “and I always find it enjoyable to read to children.” The combination of the two is what has driven him to not only write for children, but also to help organizations dedicated to them.

He likes to send a message to kids through all the silliness.

“It’s about importance of just being yourself, just being who you are,” he said. “If you are a little offbeat, be a little offbeat, it’s okay.”

The couple met while Walsh was on a working holiday as a photographer in 2002. Tubb was best friends with one of her housemates, and the two instantly clicked. Walsh decided to move to Ireland with Tubb, and they were married in 2004.

In addition to the many charities they contribute to, they have taken part in Children’s Book Festival Ireland, an event that runs in conjunction with all of the libraries across Ireland.
Welcome to my Blog, Aurora Rua. I am so happy you dropped by to visit today. This is my first blog and I hope to make my postings a fairly regular event. Do drop by again and visit!